Saturday, December 12, 2009

Children Hungry in the U.S.

Can't sleep, so I'm up at 3 a.m.  Get online, go to the Washington Post.  Mainly to check sports scores.  I already know the Caps won in overtime, but didn't get a chance to read the whole story.

Before getting there, I see a story on the front page about child hunger in the U.S.  To even say that seems surreal.

Flat screens selling like crazy this Christmas.

Something called a Zhu Zhu Hamster selling for $27-37, with accessories selling for $37.

It's a stuffed toy; why does it need accessories?

How can there be hungry children in the U.S.?  It really doesn't make sense.  I know they aren't starving; there aren't little children with bloated stomachs lying on the sidewalk.

But still, hungry?  I get hungry when I'm on a diet (which I should be on right now, but it's Christmas, right?) but not because there isn't even a single box of mac and cheese in the house.

The article says that the number of hungry children in the U.S. has risen during the recession from 13 million to 17 million.  There are 50 million children between the ages of 0-11 in the U.S., 75 million between 0-17.  Assuming the 17 million figure includes 17-yr.-olds, then 9% of children in the U.S. who are regularly hungry.


Oh, I know, it's a complex issue; that's basically what the article is about.  And, yes, the parents need to be more responsible--she shouldn't have gotten pregnant at 15 and decided to raise the child on her own, he shouldn't have dropped out of school and relegated himself to a lifetime of low-paying jobs that get cut every economic downturn.

But that's not the children's fault.  And regardless of where blame lies, if one feels the need to fix blame, it doesn't change the fact that a hungry child will have more health problems, will have a harder time learning in school, will have decreased motor skills, and that affects all of us.

But even if it doesn't, this is happening in our backyard.


This isn't the reason I couldn't sleep tonight.  But maybe it should be.

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